Late run helps men’s basketball pull away from Old Dominion

Three players scored in double-figures to help the Owls beat Old Dominion University, 76-65, in the Charleston Classic at TD Arena in South Carolina.

Junior guard Shizz Alston Jr. pushes the ball up the court during Temple's 70-60 exhibition win against Jefferson University at the Liacouras Center on Nov. 9. | SYDNEY SCHAEFER / TTN FILE PHOTO

With two minutes, 10 seconds left in Thursday’s game, Old Dominion University redshirt-senior forward Brandan Stith made a basket in the paint to cut his team’s deficit to two.

The Monarchs didn’t score after his basket, allowing Temple to close the game on a nine-point run to win its season opener, 76-65, in the Charleston Classic at TD Arena in South Carolina. The Owls advance to face Auburn University in the semifinal round on Friday at 11 a.m.

Temple, the last team in Division I to start its regular season, led by 17 points at halftime and led by as many as 19 in the second half after junior guard Shizz Alston Jr.’s 3-pointer with 19:40 remaining.

Old Dominion went on an 10-0 run starting with redshirt-junior forward Trey Porter’s layup with 18:32 left.

Porter made the basket after collecting an offensive rebound. The Monarchs had three more offensive rebounds than the Owls and four more second-chance points. They took advantage of Temple’s big men getting into foul trouble to outscore Temple in the paint, 34-20.

Junior center Ernest Aflakpui, who started, scored four points, grabbed five rebounds and played 21 minutes, picked up his third foul with 19:16 left and left the game for the next 9:29. Sophomore center Damion Moore entered in his place, but he committed his third foul with 12:39 left.

The Monarchs also went on a 9-0 run in the second half. Redshirt-sophomore forward Aaron Carver’s layup with 9:05 left cut Temple’s lead to 54-53.

Carver made all five of his field-goal attempts and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds off the bench. Old Dominion got 29 points from its bench players. Redshirt-freshman guard Xavier Green, who played 32 minutes off the bench, led the Monarchs with 15 points on 6-of-13 shooting.

Green, Carver and freshman guard Michael Hueitt Jr. combined to shoot 57 percent from the field, while Old Dominion’s starters combined to shoot 31.7 percent.

Temple’s run after Stith’s layup started with a 3-pointer by sophomore guard Quinton Rose. He scored 20 points on 6-of-12 shooting and a 7-for-11 performance at the free-throw line. Rose led Temple with five assists, but he also made five turnovers.

Alston made all four of his free-throw attempts in the final minute as Old Dominion intentionally fouled to stop the clock and hope for misses to get back in the game. He had a game-high 23 points and collected six rebounds to tie senior forward Obi Enechionyia for the team lead.

Alston scored 14 of his points in the first half, when he shot 4-for-4 from 3-point range. Temple finished the afternoon shooting a 53 percent clip from beyond the arc. Old Dominion shot 5-for-19 from 3-point range and only made 59 percent of its free throws.

Temple shot 80 percent from the free-throw line. Enechionyia shot 5-for-6 at the line. He only took five or more free throws in a game twice last season. He had 15 points on 4-of-13 shooting from the field.

After being limited to five games last season due to Achilles tendon soreness, redshirt-senior guard Josh Brown played 35 minutes. He scored seven points, shot 1-for-6 from the field, grabbed five rebounds and dished three assists.

Freshman forwards De’Vondre Perry and J.P. Moorman II made their regular-season debuts. Moorman scored two points and had one rebound. Perry played 13 minutes, missed his only field-goal attempt, grabbed a rebound and committed four fouls.

If Temple beats Auburn, it will advance to the Charleston Classic final. The Tigers beat Indiana State University, 83-64, on Thursday morning.

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